Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this discussion, but I find it unfortunate that I have so little time to speak about such an important issue.
Obviously there are many issues where partisanship should be set aside so that a broad consensus can be reached. Clearly, one of those issues is dementia and treatment for those who are living with one form or another of this disease. For that reason, I am proud to be part of this discussion and to support Bill C-356, which was introduced by my colleague from Nickel Belt.
I wanted to provide some background and statistics to show how serious this situation is, but since I already know that I will not have enough time, I would like to instead focus on something extraordinary that was achieved in my riding of Trois-Rivières and that has now spread outside the riding, outside Quebec and even outside Canada. The knowledge and skills developed by Maison Carpe Diem, under the direction of Nicole Poirier, have made this organization an international source of expertise. Clearly, the national strategy that my colleague wants to establish with his bill could help Maison Carpe Diem and this organization could use its expertise to help with this strategy.
This organization, known as Carpe Diem, comprises a home and a foundation. My colleagues probably remember the well-known film Dead Poets Society, which popularized this expression. Carpe diem is usually translated as “seize the day”, in other words, seize the present moment and make the best of it. With its home and its foundation, the organization is a perfect example of the efforts that the Trois-Rivières community has already devoted to supporting and helping people living with Alzheimer's.
Maison Carpe Diem's mission is to provide services and resources tailored to the specific needs of people with Alzheimer's disease and their loved ones. Maison Carpe Diem has decided to take a bold, innovative approach. The organization realizes that research results are rarely conclusive. That is not to take anything away from the importance of research and the need for investments in research, but simply to say that from the moment a study begins until conclusive results are reached, it is important to find ways to make life bearable for those living with this disease. With that in mind, members and administrators at Maison Carpe Diem decided to focus their approach on supporting patients and their families during these difficult times.
The approach taken by Maison Carpe Diem is so effective because of its perspective on those living with this disease. More specifically, the staff uses language in such a way as to ensure that residents there do not feel like simple patients. Instead of defining them as patients or clients, the staff creates an environment in which people living with this disease are able to feel comfortable and feel at home. This approach is original in that Maison Carpe Diem views and addresses this disease from a social perspective. Internationally renowned neurologists have validated the methods used by this organization.
On February 12, 2015, a conference focusing on supporting people with Alzheimer's was held at the Trois-Rivières conference centre. More than 400 people attended, including foreign scientists who are interested in the approach taken by the staff at Maison Carpe Diem. The founder of this organization, Nicole Poirier, drew the interest of participants because of her novel approach to the disease. The organization takes an overall perspective that helps staff identify the different aspects of Alzheimer's and that focuses on both the disease and the person living with it. This organization and its approach are now seen as a model, both within the grassroots movement and in the public health network.
What I want to say is that by being part of a national strategy, this organization could easily share its best practices and more effectively assist those suffering from dementia and their family members. My hope is that a national strategy will lead to an increase in the number of organizations like the one in my riding across the country and around the world. Furthermore, public health networks could further benefit from this expertise and share what they learn with their partners.
I was going to cite some statistics, but it seems to me that 100% is the most convincing one.
In my opinion, at some point, when we cannot remember an expression we want to use, 100% of us will wonder if that is the onset of Alzheimer's. Even though we often joke about it, these words are always on our lips.
I will conclude with a quote from the website of Maison Carpe Diem, the organization I spoke about:
If Alzheimer's is marked by forgetfulness, the discussion around it often forgets about those most concerned, the people suffering from it.